Fans of the Queen of Talk are getting a glimpse into the life of Oprah Winfrey as she auctions off hundreds of items from her Chicago condo. A preview of those items opened to the public today at a West Loop auction house, and runs through next week. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, which supports her school for girls in South Africa.
Whether you're in the market for a used weight set or a tea set, this is your chance to purchase something from the woman who has everything.
Just blocks from the soon-to-be shuttered Harpo Studios, Chicago auction house Leslie Hindman Auctioneers is giving the public a week-long preview of the 500 lots being sold by the media magnate.
“Oprah's an icon, not just in Chicago, but beyond,” said Colleen Gleason, director of estates and appraisals for the auction house. “The wonderful thing about this collection is it encompasses everything. She has amazing fine art, beautiful English furniture, quite a bit of Bietermier, so in that 500 lots or so, you're really capturing a great snapshot of who she is as a collector."
Gleason acknowledges the size of this collection is bigger than most. The items here once filled Winfrey's 9,600 square foot Water Tower condo.
“We are planning to have a lot more foot traffic than we typically have,” Gleason said.
Among the most valuable items on the auction block is "a very lovely set of Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica. It arguably is one of the most expensive porcelains in the world,” said Gleason. “The reason for that is it’s all hand-created and hand-painted. Each item has a different floral specimen on it, and the name of each species is in the back in Latin.”
The tureen alone is estimated to be worth $6,000-$8,000. The coffee set is $4,000-$6,000. Rare bouillion cups are $8,000-$12,000 for the whole set of 18.
As former business neighbors, Leslie Hindman herself knows what this collection says about Oprah.
“She's a great collector, and she’s someone who loves to learn, as you know,” said Hindman. “This represents an eclectic style. She’s a fascinating person and has all kinds of interests, and all kinds of things.”
Price points vary with something for everyone, like figurines of her beloved cocker spaniels.
“This lot is estimated at $50,000-$70,000, so this is in the lower range,” said Gleason. “But certainly it has that added prestige of representing one of Oprah's favorite species of dogs.”
Want to work out like Oprah? The step machine is valued between $200-$400.
Her makeup chair is $800-$1,200, though it probably won't make you look like Oprah. The green Chanel bag -- do I hear $400? Bidding starts at half of the low estimate.
“It's a good deal, but that's a conservative auction estimate,” said Gleason, noting that the items will probably sell for significantly more money.
“Then another thing that we have is shoes: Chanel shoes, Christian Louboutin heels,” said Gleason.
In case you're wondering, Oprah wears size 10.
But much more value lies in what's hanging on the walls instead of what's in the closet.
“She has the best examples of everything that she bought. We know that she certainly has an eye for American artists and she has a very good representation of all of them,” said Gleason.
Though exciting for possible collectors, the auction further reflects Winfrey's exit from Chicago.
“I think she's done a lot for Chicago and the world in general, truthfully. And of course it's sad that Harpo's closing, but she's been such a great person to the city, as far as I'm concerned, for so many years,” said Hindman. “And we're lucky that she was ever here.”
Luckier even, if you can score a piece of Oprah Winfrey's prized possessions.
The most expensive item in the collection is a nude painting by American artist Richard Edward Miller, valued between $80,000-$120,000.
The auction is scheduled for April 25.